Bello, Ferreira, Pepi nominated for US Soccer Young Male Player of the Year

Atlanta United defender George Bello and FC Dallas attackers Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi have been nominated for US Soccer Young Male Player of the Year, the federation announced Sunday.

The MLS trio joins former Sporting Kansas City star Gianluca Busio and Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah as nominees for the award, which will be announced later this month.

Bello took a leap forward in 2021 for club and country, starting 26 of his 29 appearances, while scoring one goal and dishing out three assists across 2,433 minutes for Atlanta United.

The 19-year-old made his first foray into the USMNT, earning five senior caps this year and featuring in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Final vs. Mexico.

Ferreira bounced back from a disappointing 2020, returning to the USMNT fold with a two-goal, three-assist performance against Trinidad and Tobago in January. He was then a leader during the U-23 USMNT’s Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship, before ending the year with appearances in both of the team’s November World Cup qualifying matches.

The 20-year-old had eight goals and nine assists in 27 appearances (26 starts) for FC Dallas after notching one goal and one assist in 19 matches in 2020.

Pepi made one of the most impressive USMNT debuts in recent memory, sparking a second-half comeback victory at Honduras during September World Cup qualifying with a hand in all four of the USMNT’s goals. He played in the rest of the USA’s fall qualifying matches, adding a brace against Jamaica on Oct. 7.

The 18-year-old was named 2021 MLS Young Player of the Year and was voted No. 1 on's 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list as he led FC Dallas with 13 goals and three assists.

For the first time, fans can vote for the winner on with that total accounting for 15% of the overall tally. The rest comes from USMNT players, coaches, media and other related entities.

Voting for the award starts Monday, Dec. 6 at 11 am ET and closes on Dec. 12 at 11:59 pm ET.